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Article: MIN 6, TB 4: Cruz Bails Out Another Bunting Blunder

nelson cruz jonathan schoop jake odorizzi taylor rogers eddie rosario
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#81 IndianaTwin

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Posted 27 June 2019 - 11:49 AM

I've generally been impressed with Baldelli. He seems to have good people skills, which I think is tremendously under-rated and non-quantifiable, and I've generally sense that he's not given to bunt. It's a small sample, but this site seems to suggest that he has bunted 18 percent less than average so far. I'm not sure I trust that, however, since it seems to be measuring successful sacrifices, rather than attempted. 

 

I've especially been impressed that Baldelli seems to take the long view. We've noted what seems like intentional efforts to get guys rest, etc. That makes me wonder -- he seems cerebral enough to be willing to take an approach that says, "If I bunt in this situation, when the 'traditional' folks say I should and the 'analytics' folks say I shouldn't, I let people think that I'm willing to bunt. In the playoffs or a particularly crucial situation, there's no way I'm going to bunt. But if I never do it, people are going to see that tendency in me. I'm willing to bunt in this 'marginal' situation to keep the fear of a bunt in people's minds down the road." 

 

I was fascinated by Bill James when I was reading his Abstracts back in the 1980s, and I'm analytical by nature. But it's nuances like that where I think analytics can break down. Chiming in on a Web site, we just don't have a way of knowing the entire picture. 

 

And so, in the seventh inning of Game 3 this October, when a 3B sneaks in a step in a similar situation and Arraez smacks one by him, let's remember that game back in June when Rocco went against the book.

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#82 Mike Sixel

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Posted 27 June 2019 - 11:50 AM

It's certainly ok to go against the odds sometimes, but that's not the argument I'm arguing against......you can't do that all the time, and you have to know the book.

It's been a fun year so far, GO Twins. Oh, and I have at least one blog post now......The table on my first blog post is now fixed. Sigh.


#83 VATwinsFan

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Posted 27 June 2019 - 11:53 AM

 

The discussion about Baldelli's decision to bunt is more evidence that baseball is far and away the most interesting sport.I was at the game, and I can attest that no issue was more debated in my section than the bunt/no bunt decision.I think most of us can agree there are compelling reasons on both sides of this argument.As for me, I am generally a "no bunt" guy (and the math is on the side of the "no bunters").But in this case, I was 100% on board with Rocco's choice to bunt, and find fault only with Schoop's poor execution.Here is my logic:

 

1) Schoop has had a fine season, but has not been particularly productive recently....231 average with just 1 rbi in his last 7 games.

 

2) Being a solid contact guy with below average speed, Schoop is a likely DP candidate...in fact, his GIDP rate leads all Twins regulars.While Arraez's single still would have plated one run for the inning,a DP at that moment would have been a terrible outcome.

 

3) The next two hitters are currently our two best BA guys.The chance of scoring at least two runs and taking the lead was quite high if Schoop could have laid down a successful bunt.

 

4) A few have said here that Schoop is a very poor bunter, but I was not aware of that...does anyone have his career bunting stats?If he is something like 2 for 100 lifetime, then I would concur that Rocco blundered here.But I suspect that Rocco has a better idea of Schoop's chances of laying down a good bunt than any of us here. Shame on Schoop though if he hasn't mastered a basic baseball skill that all middle infielders should have.  

 

Oddly, I felt somewhat relieved after Schoop whiffed on the third strike, because it meant no GIDP...felt even better after Arraez singled, and fortunately Cruz picked up Polanco after his popup.All in all, a terrfic win last night, and a great baseball discussion!

I'm just sitting hear enjoying this discussion as I eat my popcorn.


#84 IndianaTwin

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Posted 27 June 2019 - 11:53 AM

 

I'd hardly call that "considerably".......since we don't know how many chances they had, for example. But, let's go with 720 PA in the "per 162" thing......

 

That's a 1% difference in hitting into a DP......

 

 

I should have started the DP sentence with "Also." My bigger point is that Polanco has been the best hitter on the team and Schoop is hitting ninth for a reason. As well as to note that two baseball situations are rarely "exactly the same," since there are so many variables to account for.  


#85 crapforks

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Posted 27 June 2019 - 11:57 AM

Slightly off-topic, but I think people are going a little overboard in calling for Arraez to replace Schoop in the lineup. Schoop is not a superstar, but he is having a quietly solid season. He seems to be a calm presence and has a quiet confidence about him. He is probably the 8th or 9th best hitter on the team, but that's ok. I feel that we fans are undervaluing his skillset (power & defense) because neither is particularly flashy, and because his soft spots (patience and base running) are something the team could use. He is outplaying his career numbers (slightly) and has been pretty much what any reasonable person would have expected from him. He's a bit like a lesser JJ Hardy to me. Very easy to overlook and focus on the negatives because very little he does is highlight-reel worthy. It is very unlikely he is the team's 2B of the future, but he hasn't really done anything to warrant a benching. Arraez has plenty of opportunity (SS, LF, 3B, 2B) to get in the lineup before surpassing Schoop on the 2B depth chart. If Arraez does indeed surpass Schoop, that is an absolutely lovely situation for the team!

 

 

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#86 IndianaTwin

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Posted 27 June 2019 - 11:59 AM

 

It's certainly ok to go against the odds sometimes, but that's not the argument I'm arguing against......you can't do that all the time, and you have to know the book.

 

 

I'm with you on that. I'm not inherently arguing for or against last night's bunt. And it seems that, if he indeed said that Polanco was on his own last week, that he does know the book. I think that one of the skills of a good manager (and a skill that I think Rocco has the potential to be really good at) is to know when and how often to be a contrarian in a given situation for the greater good.

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#87 the_brute_squad

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 03:45 PM

 

It was the seventh inning and the Twins have the highest-scoring offense in baseball.

 

You don't play for a run in that situation. You try to take the lead, not tie the game. It's not the ninth inning.

 

And despite giving away an out, what did the Twins do in that situation?

 

They took the lead because Cruz hammering the effing ball, just like the rest of this lineup does on a near-nightly basis.

 

Play for one run when you need one run to keep the game alive. Outside of that specific situation, you play for as many runs as possible.

"You don't play for a run in that situation". I disagree. The bunt was to move two players into scoring position. Additionally, where is it said you don't play for a run in that situation? There are more reasons than that to bunt:

Take the team out of the double play

Get the hitter to see the ball better if they are slumping

Catch the defense off guard

 

I'm not a huge fan of bunting - especially early in a game - but I've seen a lot worse circumstances than Schoop's attempt.

Cruz did hit that effing ball, though!


#88 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 28 June 2019 - 03:50 PM

 

"You don't play for a run in that situation". I disagree. The bunt was to move two players into scoring position. Additionally, where is it said you don't play for a run in that situation? There are more reasons than that to bunt:

Take the team out of the double play

Get the hitter to see the ball better if they are slumping

Catch the defense off guard

 

I'm not a huge fan of bunting - especially early in a game - but I've seen a lot worse circumstances than Schoop's attempt.

Cruz did hit that effing ball, though!

"A run" as in "singular run, not runs". In case the way I phrased that wasn't clear. Bunting with two on and no outs increases the chance of scoring a single run and decreases the chance of scoring multiple runs, hence my "a run" comment.

 

For the record, I'm actually quite a fan of bunting for hits. I think guys like Buxton and Polanco should do it more often to keep the defense honest (unless they can't bunt for a good batting average, then quit it).

 

I'm not a fan of putting a plodding quasi-slugger with no bunting skills in a situation to sacrifice bunt, though. Schoop is unreasonably slow for his athleticism and, as we all witnessed, cannot bunt for ****.

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